Car seat clinic clicks with parents

Gillam County Sheriff's Office deputy Jesse Labenske lends a hand during a car seat clinic Thursday evening at the Hermiston Walmart.

About nine out of every 10 car seats are installed improperly, and Thursday evening public safety officials braved the weather to help make sure area children don’t become part of that potentially dangerous statistic.

“We want to get out there and help parents make sure the kids are safe,” firefighter Jim Tanner said. “Each car seat is different, and there are a few little tricks you need to know. If we can help and make sure that the car seat is in properly, that’s worth my time going out and doing these events.”

Representatives from the Hermiston Police Department, Hermiston Fire & Emergency Services and Gilliam County Sheriff’s Office gathered in the Walmart parking lot for the car seat clinic Thursday. Over 2 1/2 hours, the officials sold one car seat and installed or checked eight. Friday, Tanner checked two additional seats at the fire station.

“I think it went fairly well,” he said of the clinic. “We ended up having 10 checks out of that one event.”

Having a car seat installed correctly can make sure a child is not thrown or injured during an accident. Although Tanner said he has not responded to any car accidents where a seat was not installed properly in this area, the 17-year firefighter said he has seen less fortunate accidents in the past.

“Those are never fun. It’s not something I want to see here,” he said.

Tanner and Hermiston Police Department Crime Prevention Officer Erica Franz also plan to meet this week to organize the next clinic, which will probably take place in early December. They said they would also like to hold events quarterly in 2011, but Tanner reminded parents to contact the police or fire departments if they have questions.

“We will always check car seats or answer any questions,” he said. “If anyone ever has any questions, they can call the fire department and I will always get back in touch with them within a few days.”

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